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Letter to the Editor: Proposal sets us back

To the editor:

The number of Oregonians with health insurance has grown dramatically in recent years. The Oregon Health Insurance Survey found that 95 percent of Oregonians were covered in 2015. Oregon ranked 19th in the nation in this regard, a marked improvement from 37th place in 2010.

Under the ACA (Obamacare) more than 400,000 previously uninsured Oregonians gained insurance through our state’s Medicaid expansion.

Another 130,000 bought coverage on the private insurance exchange. In 2016, Oregon’s doctors and hospitals were paid an estimated $1.08 billion that would otherwise have been “uncompensated care” or bad debt (data from Kaiser Family Foundation and the Urban Institute). Low income rural Oregon patients and hospitals were helped the most. Now this progress is in jeopardy. On Monday House Republicans released their Obamacare replacement bill.

The damage it will do is under evaluation but it is certain to set us back severely and may wipe out all the gains. The AMA, the ACP (internal medicine), the American Academy of Family Practice and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and many other provider groups across the nation are standing up for their patients and protesting. And why in the world is our representative in congress, Greg Walden, leading the charge to weaken our state? Much of the damage will phase in after 2020. Clearly the Congressmen are hoping the voters have a short memory; by then we are supposed to forget who it was that caused the mayhem.

Tom Hodge

The Dalles

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